Return of the King – Huzzah!

Richard III

Great news from Leicester that the bones found beneath a car park belong to Richard III, last of the Plantagenet kings. I’m chuffed pink that he’s been found, and hope the discovery breathes new life into the question of whether he was a Bad King, as portrayed by that shameless Tudor propagandist, William Shakespeare. Here’s a video of the dig from the University of Leicester, who did a brilliant job.

I will admit to being somewhat influenced in my historical perspective by this splendid song from Horrible Histories.

According to the news reports, he died a horrible, brutal death, which prompts reflection on the fact that kings and queens, the high and mighty in general, are only human. All that swank and swagger is merely whistling in the dark. This scene from Richard II, says it all. Yes, I know it’s the wrong Richard, but the words are spot on.

Here is Shakespeare’s character assassination, as portrayed by Laurence Olivier in the 1955 film.

And for something completely different, a trailer for the 1995 film, with Ian McKellen in the title role. I want to see this.

Shakespeare: Original Pronunciation

If I hitched a ride on the Tardis to spend an afternoon watching one of Shakespeare’s plays at the Globe, would I understand it? David Crystal, a professor of linguistics, and his actor son, Ben, bring OP to life in this glimpse of how the plays might have sounded. It’s faster, comes from the body rather than the head as in RP, and reveals new rhymes, puns, and dirty jokes in the text. Makes me grin with pleasure to hear it.